I know this topic has been covered ad nauseum in practically every single parent blog known to mankind. And it’s not like I think I have anything new or insightful to add to the fray but since it’s my blog and nobody reads it anyway, I have a few things I want to say about this.
The other day, I was doing some research on nannies. (And by “research”, I mean Googling.) I stumbled upon a forum on one of the more popular sites, probably babycenter or something like that. Now, I’ve checked out babycenter every now and then. It’s good for checking out milestones and stuff like that: making sure my kid hasn’t fallen too far off track when it comes to the basics such as babbling or rolling over or whatever. But beyond that, I don’t delve too deeply into it. Anyway…the Google machine led me to a link about a mom who wrote on a forum that she was upset because her kid seemed to be preferring the nanny to her. She said that her child cried for the nanny at night. She was obviously distressed and a bit heartbroken.
And…cue the vitriol!
As you may have guessed, people viciously attacked her. What did you expect when you decided to prance off to work every day and leave you precious child with somebody who isn’t their mother? Didn’t you think about this before you had kids? How DARE you have children knowing you weren’t going to be home to raise them? Where are your priorities? Nice to see that the almighty dollar is more important to you than your own child. And so on and so forth. I was saddened but not surprised. I read enough blogs to know that Moms can be the worst kind of judgy McJudgersons around. Every time one of my bookmarked bloggers writes a post about either (a) being a stay-at-home mom (“SAHM”) or (2) going back to work, the comments section explodes. Criticizing other people’s choices or being smug about their own choice. It just never seems to end.
Full disclosure: I work. And yes, I feel guilty about it and worry about it and miss my kid like crazy every minute of the day that I’m not at home. I work out of necessity but have a sneaking suspicion that even if I didn’t have to, I might want to. Because my husband has more patience than me. Because I worry about my sanity being at home with a baby all day. Because I like eating with two hands and without a baby constantly trying to reach for whatever I’m putting in my mouth. Because I hope someday my daughter will know financial independence and I feel like the best way I can teach her that is by showing her that her mother earns money.
But then ask me on other days, and I’ll say that I’d like nothing better than to be a SAHM. Because the bond between mother and daughter is precious and I want to make that as strong as possible. Because I genuinely enjoy her company and she makes me laugh like nobody else. Because I want her to feel safe and secure, knowing that she will always be taken care of. Becuase I hope that someday my daughter will know life is about choices and she’ll know that just as her mother made a choice to stay home, she too can make whichever choice is right for her.
The point is (and yes, I do have one…I think…): why are we so judgemental? Why do we feel the need to knock others down? Does it make us feel better about our own choices because we’re all basically conflicted but don’t want to admit it? Because as adamant as most mothers sound about knowing that their choice is the right choice, I truly believe that every single one of us has days in which we wish we were doing the opposite. As I sit here at work, pining away for my daughter’s milk smell and beaming smile, I wish desperately that I were home with her. And I also know that if I were a SAHM, there’d be days when her crying would be out of control and her newfound mobility would exhaust me and I’d be wishing I were at work, reclaiming my career and bringing home the bacon.
And so we need to defend our choices and the way most of us seem to do it is by knocking down those that made the other choice. The one we secretly wish we had made. C’mon, moms. Seriously? How does that help us? How does that help our children? It doesn’t. And all it does is create an environment of resentment, guilt and anger. Let’s try something new: let’s end the Mommy Wars once and for all, ok?